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August 17 2009 at 10:44 AM
Melody Maxim  (Login melmax)
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Response to How much choice does the average person really have in this matter?


I don't mean to infuriate you. I know it's probably hard to believe, but I've seldom had a cross word with anyone, prior to my venture into the world of cryonics. Admittedly, I AM "practical," in nature, but you must admit I am openminded enough to believe cryonics is a valid scientific endeavor, with a strong foundation in existing hypothermic medical procedures.

I know I've written, before, that I admire your idealism, and I truly do. I don't find you "impossible," I just think you probably don't know a lot of the history of things that have gone on, in cryonics, and I'm fairly certain you are unaware of the very low standard of patient care that exists, particularly in regard to remote procedures. Organizations like Alcor and Suspended Animation have been their own worst enemies, carrying out activities that have been of questionable ethics, for a very long time, now. If they are not embraced by the medical community, it is no one's fault, but their own.

You write: "Anyway, if hospitals are better at cryonics than cryonics agencies, obviously it should be hospitals doing it. Whatever it takes, we should be working to get it into hospitals, one sure slow step at a time. Or maybe we need to get better cryonics agencies. Whatever needs done, it needs done... Just sitting here and complaining isn't going to change things. We're talking about life and death."

That is the most profound thing you have written, in my opinion, and you are not the first to suggest it. A lot of us, (even the most harsh critics, such as myself), want to see cryonics taken to a new, more professional, more competent, level. I am not the one who sent three laymen to perform the initial steps of a cryopreservation, two years ago, (when SA could have easily afforded competent professionals)...you can credit Charles Platt and Saul Kent with that. The problem is, conventional medicine is not going embrace the efforts of cryonics organizations that have consistently behaved so unprofessionally, unethically, and possibly even illegally, for so many decades.

Right now, we have Alcor insisting on digging up a man who has been buried for many months. I understand the point of view that they may feel they have an obligation to carry out Mr. Richardson's wishes but, in my opinion, they are doing so at the risk of perpetuating the public's opinions of them as a bunch of "cult-like" lunatics, who are possibly just trying to keep Mr. Richardson's money from his family. (I'm not saying that IS their intention; I'm saying that is what most people will think.) In my opinion, as a medical professional, Mr. Richardson's brain is beyond repair, at this point, so I don't understand Alcor putting their reputation, (and, therefore, the fate of their future membership), at risk. People are going to read those news articles and think they are a bunch of ghoulish nuts.

You write: "Religious people are typically pro-life, not pro-death. They want to see life continue, not end prematurely. Making peace with God is important to them of course, but being cryopreserved versus burial has nothing to do with this."

I understand this, and agree with it, but do most religious people?

You write: "Think of it from a societal rather than a personal perspective for a moment. Do we try to do all in our power as a modern, technologically advanced people, to prevent death -- or do we surrender to it like a bunch of helpless primitives?"

It's funny that you write this, because I think I am the one, (of the two of us), who is looking at this from a societal perspective, and that you are the one looking at it from a more personal perspective. To give you an example, my grandparents, (my father's parents), died last year. They were both in their 90's. My grandfather, who was suffering from Parkinson's and a number of other afflictions, was, mentally, 110%. The man's mind was incredible. He could remember everything that ever happened, in his entire life, and he had a new joke, every day. He was certainly aware of cryonics, but being a very religious man, he really wanted a nice funeral and to be buried to await the second-coming of Christ. He was unafraid to die, stating many times, he was "ready to go," since he firmly believed he will live, again, just as you believe you will do so, if cryopreserved. As practical as I am, and though I have certainly questioned the existence of "God," my entire life, (back to when I was a child of six, or seven), I really don't believe anyone can prove my grandfather was wrong. There are only a few thousand people who believe in the viability of cryopreservation, but most of the world's population doesn't believe life ends with death on this earth.

You write: "Your talk about the right to choose sounds good, but in context it makes no sense. Hardly anyone even knows the relavent facts of cryonics. Doctors aren't recommending it, hardly anyone reputable is."

You "hit the nail on the head," right there. "Hardly anyone reputable is (recommending cryopreservation)." And, for as long as the people who have been in control for these last few decades, remain in control, that will most likely remain true. In my mind, there's not much use in trying to increase public awareness, for so long as the quality of cryonics patient care is as poor as it is. Sure, hospitals have let the standby teams in, with their ice baths. And, families have been "happy," or "impressed," with the standby teams, but what have the hospitals and families seen? People put someone in an ice bath, pack ice around them, and performing chest compressions? I could teach my teenagers to do that, in one day. What the hospitals and families don't see is the bumbling around that goes on when a bunch of amateurs try to perform procedures like femoral cannulations and perfusion, or they wouldn't be so impressed. In fact, I believe they would be appalled.

If you want to promote cryonics, you are going to have to find a way to make the cryonics organizations behave more professionally, ethically, and responsibly. That is why I come here and complain, (and, no, my posts here are not my only cryonics efforts). I do believe my posts have brought about some changes, in cryonics, though not nearly as many as I had hoped for. I want professionals who are capable of gaining IV access on patients with no blood pressure, performing good femoral cannulations in minutes, and safely performing perfusion to be GUARANTEED to show up for each and every stabilization. SA can well-afford to provide this level of care, with a budget well in excess of a million dollars a year, yet they do not. I also want Alcor and CI to have a similar standard of care, for the cryopreservation perfusion. CI has a funeral director who is proficient at carotid/vertebral/jugular cannulations, which is probably the best route to go, if there has not been a washout. If a remote team were to bring a patient who had been properly femorally cannulated, and washed out, the same cannulae could be used for the cryopreservation.

There's a lot of work to be done, at all the organizations, but so far, what I usually see from the two best-funded organizations (Alcor and SA) are a lot of what I would call "hand-waving gestures," and secrecy. As for CI, I believe they are hindered by a rather limited budget.

This message has been edited by melmax on Aug 17, 2009 3:47 PM

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